In case you would like to know more about SQL Azure database offering that is coming to the Azure platform, I would like to point out to you the new resources available on MSDN web site.

For those who are not following Azure platform developments and features, here is a quick introduction into the data storage in the cloud – the Microsoft way ;). Since Microsoft Azure platform (Windows Azure + Azure Services) is a development and hosting platform it, of course, has to support different ways of storing data in the cloud.

One way of storage is supported in the Windows Azure platform and it is meant for non-relational storage of persistent (bulk) data. If offers you three fundamental services:

  • Blob service (storage for entities, such as binary files and text files);
  • Queue service (reliable, persistent messaging within and between services);
  • Table service (structured storage in the form of tables).

For more information about Windows Storage I encourage you to visit this MSDN site.

Additional service that will be available in the cloud as a part of the Azure Services is SQL Azure, which basically extends SQL Server database into the cloud and gives you proper relational storage of the data in the cloud. The best part about SQL Azure is, that you can use all the same approaches to access this database as you would in your local environment with your locally installed SQL Server. In case you are wondering how this is possible the short answer is that TDS is used over HTTPS protocol, which can be seen on this picture (for details visit MSDN site):

Azure Hosting Option

Since the database is based in the cloud on the Microsoft Cloud Fabric, some things will be limited (limited set of TSQL statements, different approach to manage users, etc) but on the other hand a scalable relational database, spanning servers will be available to us without the burden of managing the administration of the database servers, backups and similar stuff.

As you can realize this brings some awesome functionality to the cloud platform and really leverages all the development knowledge we already posses from the .NET environment. Good stuff!